Max Payne 3 review (Xbox 360)

Valenka | 704d ago | User review
Reviewing: Max Payne 3
Rockstar Games Delivers a Masterpiece
Max Payne is a hardened introvert on the mirror's edge of reality; a substance abuser who has nothing to lose and nothing to live for, but somehow finds the strength and inner will to continue on. We were first introduced to him in 2001, as a renegade Drug Enforcement Association agent and an ex-cop, who's wife and newborn daughter were brutally murdered in their New York City apartment by a trio of junkies strung out on a new designer drug called 'Valkyr.' We bear witness to Max's emotional trauma and overall struggle as he tracks down the man responsible.

Two years later, we meet Max Payne again in the game's sequel, The Fall of Max Payne. It was met with favourable reviews, praise revolving around its story and gameplay, while the overall length of the game was criticised for being short; despite the criticism, the game earned several industry awards including Outstanding Art Direction at the Golden Satellite Awards 2004, and Editors' Choice Awards from GamePro, IGN, and GameSpy.

It's now 2012, and Rockstar Games has honoured us with another instalment in the Max Payne series, this time revolving around Max in a different atmosphere and feeling--Max has aged and he seems to have come to terms with the fact that he is indeed mortal. Max Payne is a vulnerable man; we all know it and now he's accepted it. Max Payne 3 takes place mostly in São Paulo, Brazil; Max now works in executive protection for the wealthy Rodrigo Branco in the hopes of escaping the memories of his troubled past.

Before one even can access the main menu, we're shown an introductory scene of Max going into his apartment in Brazil and narrating a bit of a monologue, giving us some insight to the inner workings of his mind. Afterward, the main menu appears and then gamers can choose what they'd like to do; Single Player, Arcade Mode, Multiplayer, or access the settings. For argument's sake, let's choose single player; no longer than but a moment into the game, we're thrust into fierce and intense cinematic action and as we soon find out, it's a non-stop thrill ride.

Max Payne 3 is without a doubt the most fun, addicting, and most beautiful games I've played since Mass Effect 3; I find myself unable to sit down and just play through the story because I end up craving the online multiplayer experience--both, however, are equally as amazing.

After picking up the game at the midnight launch last night, I started off with online multiplayer. I explored my options, customised my character and a few seconds after selecting the mode I wanted to play, I was thrown into a game lobby and a moment later, the round commenced. It's easy to pick up and play because the controls are quite simple and very fluid. Everything is brilliantly responsive and executed beautifully. Originally, I was quite concerned about the level of realism--where it's easy to be killed, I wondered how long it would take before it got annoying. It never did. True, about three well placed shots at a decent distance will kill you, but the respawning is practically instantaneous and you're brought back into the match as quickly as you can press the button - there's virtually no waiting, which if I do say so myself, is perfect.

Naturally, as it remains with any modern shooter with online multiplayer, you have your personalised arsenal loadouts, perks and abilities, and attachments. There's a vast arsenal of weapons and equipment to choose from and just as many perks and abilities, all functional to fit different play styles. As you level up your character, more weapons, equipment, and abilities are unlocked, and as you level up a certain weapon, attachments and the option to have a gold-plated version of it are unlocked as well. Levelling up is not a challenge or a chore, nor is it a breeze--it's a fair mixture of both. Experiencing the online multiplayer aspect is not to be missed.

In true Max Payne style, the main story immerses you in Max's world; you feel his pain, you experience his tragedy, and you even want to slap him a few times when he acts like a rain cloud and throws himself pity parties. As I said before, Max is vulnerable, and it shows. Max gets shot, you see the bullet wounds and the blood coming out of them. Have him run around and dive all over the place like a dehydrated sea mammal, he'll sweat. Drench him in water, you see the progression of his clothes drying. It's insane. It's this amount of realism, detail, and effort that keeps Rockstar Games a cut above the rest.

What I appreciate the most about the game, however, is the way Max and your online multiplayer character handles weapons. You can have up to three weapons at a time; two sidearms (consisting of either two pistols, two machine pistols, or a combination of either) and one primary weapon, whether it be an assault rifle, submachine gun, heavy rifle, shotgun, or sniper rifle. However, there are no back holsters that your primary weapon will magnetise to. You want to dual wield your two sidearms? You're going to have to drop your primary weapon to do so. There's no magic black hole of a holster hidden in your character's chest that can hold your rifle until you want to use it. Want to use just one sidearm? Your character will hold the primary weapon in their free hand and actually hold it under their arm when it's time to reload. It's proper brilliant realism in effect here.

Bullet Time and Shoot Dodge features make a triumphant return and are done in the best ways ever--when executing a Shoot Dodge, you can literally see Max as he builds the momentum to launch himself into the air, whether it be forward, backward, or sideways. What I love the most about it is the landing after the Shoot Dodge: regardless of how you land, whether it be after tumbling down a flight of stairs (which will affect your health, naturally), colliding with a wall, or sliding down a banister, Max lands in a prone stance, unless you move the left analogue stick. While prone, you may continue to open fire on your enemies, and should you move the right analogue stick around to aim, Max will roll accordingly, whether it be on his stomach, his sides, or his back, to adequately get a quality shot. Bullet Time works the same way, except when using it, the world around Max goes into slow motion, allowing you to duck out of cover for that difficult headshot, all while being able to see bullets travel, whether it be yours or the enemies--and of course, you may execute a Shoot Dodge manoeuvre while in Bullet Time.

Bullet Time and Shoot Dodge in multiplayer had me worried at first. Before I understood how it would work, I was quite cynical and initially, quite reluctant to play--boy, was I wrong. I should have known better from Rockstar Games. The way Bullet Time and Shoot Dodge is executed in multiplayer is proper good work. It's not annoying or is it tedious when other people are using it against or around you--it's actually quite beneficial.

Say you're in team deathmatch and you see your teammate go into Shoot Dodge just as an enemy comes into your view--as long as your teammate (that executed the Shoot Dodge) remains in your field of vision on the screen, the Bullet Time will remain in effect--and while anyone in your field of vision executes a Shoot Dodge, the world around you will be in slow motion for you as well, allowing you to use it to your advantage. It's a little tough to explain, but I can guarantee, you'll appreciate the way it functions in multiplayer.

Max Payne 3 is simply put, a brilliant game that should be a crime to ignore. Whether you're in it for the story, in it for the gameplay, or even just the online multiplayer (which should be a crime in itself)--regardless of your intentions, Max Payne 3 will entertain you for quite some time.

In addition, gamers might also want to pick up the collector's edition of the game; it comes with a 10" statuette of Max Payne, a digital download of the soundtrack, five beautiful photo stills that outline Max's troubled mind, free downloadable content to play as Mona Sax, Vladimir Lem, and four other characters from previous Max Payne games, and a keychain of a .45 calibre bullet. I'd say it's definitely worth the additional cost, especially for collectors and die hard Max Payne fans.
Ups
Gripping story
Realistic and unparalleled gameplay
Fantastic soundtrack
Downs
Original noir comic feel is non-existant
Score
9.0
Graphics Rockstar Games is well-known for games of pure quality and there's no sacrifice when it comes to gameplay versus graphics; the graphics have been given the attention they deserve and the polish and shine really shows.
9.5
Sound Consisting of mostly orchestral-style music, there is never a point in the game where a song feels out of place.
9.5
Gameplay Without a doubt, the gameplay is absolutely the best part of the game. It's realistic, it's intense, and it's proper good fun; I can say for a fact that the game has high replay value.
10.0
Fun factor Whether it be single player, arcade mode, or online multiplayer, there is no denying that this game is wonderfully entertaining. It's not just a game, but an experience; it tells a story and it immerses you in Max Payne's world.
9.5
Online Online multiplayer is brilliantly executed; a large handful of game modes, a wide arsenal of weapons at your disposal, and character customization makes the online portion a phenomenal experience.
9.8
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
Hufandpuf  +   704d ago
Nice review! I haven't been able to pick up the game yet but what sort of advantages (if there are any) do they give you for pre ordering?
Valenka  +   704d ago
You get different bonuses, depending on where you preorder. I chose GameStop and ended up getting three pieces of free downloadable content, all for multiplayer. A pill bottle load out item, the Cemetery map, and the Silent Killer pack.
Hufandpuf  +   703d ago
So if I buy it later, are the pre order bonuses available to buy day one, or are they free for day 1 buyers when they release?
Valenka  +   702d ago
I believe the pre-order bonuses are simply put, pre-order bonuses. I'm yet to see any promotional item on the Xbox Live marketplace or Playstation Network Store available for individual purchase...not yet anyway.
Commander-Koslun  +   704d ago
It's amazing, soooo good. Really is. Great review, spot on.
JellyJelly  +   704d ago
Good review!

A little too good actually, since I have to wait until friday before I get to play it. :(
hennessey86  +   704d ago
Its not out until Friday
in the UK :(, can't wait play it. Great review.
gtxgamer2  +   702d ago
Tomorrow!!
IRetrouk  +   702d ago
In about 6 hours!!!!!!!!, post man better shuffle his ass quick today lol
Spydiggity  +   703d ago
I would describe Max Payne 3 as...Uncharted, but with bullet time, better gunplay, more detailed (and destructible) environments, better set pieces, and a MUCH better story.

I think that's pretty much what Rockstar was going for.
#5 (Edited 703d ago ) | Agree(13) | Disagree(11) | Report | Reply
MattyG  +   702d ago
Max Payne 3 is only similar to Uncharted because they are third person shooters. They have nothing in common other than that.
Spydiggity  +   702d ago
then you obviously haven't played both games. they are incredibly similar. the way the camera follows while sprinting, the cover system, the way the team death match plays out, the feel when you're rolling or popping into cover, the feel of the weapons.

if you play a round of uncharted 3 tdm, then immediately jump into a round of max payne 3 tdm, you wouldn't notice much difference.

and as far as the story goes. it transitions in and out of cut scenes, it constantly takes you to new set pieces where you have third person, cover-based battles.

even the graphics, the use of color (except the foliage in max payne looks way more realistic...it's not that bright fluorescent green that pollutes the screen when you're in an uncharted jungle), the environments...very similar.

they are way more similar than the ps3 fanboys will want to admit because rockstar simply did it much better.
#5.1.1 (Edited 702d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(12) | Report
neutralgamer19  +   702d ago
More detailed environmets and better set pieces bwahhhh and better gunplay!!!! Wow we must have played two diff games. How bout this...

Mp- stiff controls, mediocre looking bland environments and a cover system that doesnt come close to uncharted.

Sp- fun, but generic gameplay with decent graphics and too many annoying cutscenes. Oh and stupid Al

I dont know what kind of weed you was smoking but it must have been good. MP3 doesnt even come close to Uc2,s brilliance you must be crazy.
#5.2 (Edited 702d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(13) | Report | Reply
neutralgamer19  +   702d ago
I bet you were one if thise same pol that said crysis 2 looked better than killzone 2 and 3 lol Good try but your insane even comparing mp3 to u2 and 3 they are in a whle other leaugue. Yes give it up ps3 exclusives are just that good and uc2 has the most awards ever to back it up Maxpayne wont and doesnt even come close try again.
beerkeg  +   700d ago
Crysis 2 was better than Killzone 2 + 3, it had a better campaign.
MattyG  +   701d ago
Except I have played both of them. I was saying that there is no climbing, puzzle soving, Max Payne is darker and has less adventure than Uncharted. I'm talking more of the mechanics of gameplay, you're talking more of the gunplay. It isn't obvious that I haven't played them, we just have different opinions. Think before you assume next time.

EDIT: The reason I don't think they're similar isn't because I'm a PS3 fanboy, it's because they just aren't. I own consoles from all the big 3 and love them all. I'm not saying I prefer Uncharted to Max Payne, I'm just saying they're completely different games.
#5.4 (Edited 701d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
mynameisEvil  +   701d ago
Ah, Spydiggity actually went and inboxed me telling me about how wrong I was (and was still insisting that there was a sprint button). And he also said that my comment helped prove his points. Sure, man... whatever makes you feel like you're accomplishing something.
mynameisEvil  +   701d ago
Uh, I have played both games, actually, and it's clear that you're just trolling.

1. Uncharted doesn't let you sprint. The fact that you said otherwise indicates to me that you haven't even played Uncharted, but I digress.
2. The cover system? The cover system is used in nearly every third-person shooter released since Gears of War popularized it back in '06.
3. More detailed environments? Ha, okay, sure. I'd say they're about on-par with detail. The destructible environments? Well, okay, it's got destructible environments. A number of games are finally starting to put destructible environments in now.
4. The feel is the weapons is subjective. I could say that Serious Sam's double-barrel coach gun is the most satisfying gun in the game, but others can come behind and say that the minigun feels a lot better.
5. The foliage in MP3 looks more realistic? The fact that you mentioned foliage is you just grasping at straws but, no, the foliage only looks mildly better. Not that it really matters because I don't think many people walk up to a bush in the game, stare at it, and go, "You know... the foliage detail in this game is phenomenal. This is a totally better game than *insert game name here*."

Also, I'd like to point out that MP3's been in development for as long as Uncharted has existed. MP3 feels like MP3 and Uncharted feels like Uncharted. With that said, would you kindly piss off? The world ill needs an annoying prick such as you.
MattyG  +   701d ago
Thank you! You took my thoughts and put them into a comment better than i did. Well said sir, well said indeed.
#5.5.1 (Edited 701d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(2) | Report
NoTheMama  +   700d ago
Haha! Nooooooooo!!!!
I tried playing U2 (And Golden Abyss at work) after a MP3 session & its a whole different ball game. For one Max & all the enemies arent ultra bullet sponges, like Drake & anyone he's shooting at. Grrr!! You can take cover almost anywhere as oppossed to Uncharted's unpredictable cover system (take cover behind that wall, but you cant with that other wall even though its exactly the same!)
They feel completely different to play too, thanks to the player animations. Every movement in MP3 is accounted for, & Max's limbs react accordingly altering your movement. MP3 controls like silk butter.
Uncharted feels like any 3rd person shooter these days ie character moves like he has a broomstick up their ass (slow & sluggish)
I'll leave it with this though. Shoot an enemy in the head in MP3, & they drop like a bag of dirt. Headshot an enemy in Uncharted, they become slighty annoyed & keep coming at you! Get f**ked!!
JakemanPS31994  +   702d ago
Great Review! i havent played alot of the singleplayer but so far the multiplayer is just plain fun! i mean i didnt get the Rockstar because i didnt think i was going to play alot of it mostly just the single player but now i feel like logging on to psn and getting it. Why Rockstar?! why do you have to always take away my spare time?!
favourplaza   701d ago | Spam
coolbeans  +   700d ago
It's a shame that half the comments in here are aimed at one poster's foolish "MP3>UC series" statement. It's better to just ignore those and stick to making comments and asking questions about the review itself.

Edit: For the sake of doing just that (lulz):

Since ME3 had the same score, I'm curious to hear which title is your frontrunner for GOTY. Or is it too close to call right now?
#8 (Edited 700d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
artmali   697d ago | Spam
artmali   697d ago | Spam

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Max Payne 3

Average Score 8.7 Reviews(275)
Release Dates
iPad Release Dates
iPhone Release Dates
PC Release Dates
JP December 2011
US 29 May 2012
AU May 2012
EU 18 May 2012
PS3 Release Dates
US 15 May 2012
EU 18 May 2012
AU May 2012
Wii Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates
JP March 2012
US 15 May 2012
EU 18 May 2012
AU May 2012